Newbie Noelle: How I Incorporate New, Fun Challenges Into My Week


Noelle Grimm

The Final Task: Reflecting on my freshman year

My freshman year at Kent could not have come with more surprises. Within the first month at school, I was saying goodbye to my roommate who decided Kent was not the best fit for her. I spent the rest of the fall semester alone and fairly isolated from everyone else. By that point, everyone had found their people, and I was still searching. 

Just when I finally felt like things were turning up, and I had established a comfortable routine on campus, the coronavirus decided to swoop in and change everything. With all that has happened, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what this year has taught me. In typical Newbie Noelle fashion, I want to share those lessons and experiences. 

Spend time with people who share your major or other interests

I attached myself to the first few people I met on campus and I haven’t spoken with them since that first month. I was so desperate to find a group of friends that I settled too quickly for people I had nearly nothing in common with. It’s not that I regret spending time with them, I just realize now that I could have spent more time joining clubs and finding people within my major or college to make friendships with. 

One close friend that I made this year was someone who is the same major as me. The benefit of making friends within your college is that you’re likely to have similar class schedules. Having a friend in your classes is always a bonus, and you have an excuse to take study breaks together. 

Don’t keep too much food in your room!

My mom was always stocking up my dorm room with cans of soup, all the chips I wanted and too many frozen breakfast meals. As much as I loved having all those options, it made it really hard to convince myself to walk to the dining hall. Why walk in the cold to get food when I had all these options in the comfort of my dorm room?

Going to the dining hall isn’t just about getting food; it’s a time to catch up with your friends and take a break from all the madness of classwork. When you stay holed up in your room with an abundance of snacks, it’s easy to feel isolated and reminded of all your responsibilities. Not to mention, meal plans aren’t cheap, so it’s best to make use of them rather than let them go to waste. 

Mental health comes first

Understanding and maintaining your mental health while you’re at school is necessary to succeed. Getting good grades and doing the most for your resume is not going to mean anything if you’re unhappy. One habit I have started since coming to Kent is taking frequent breaks throughout my day to keep my sanity. There is no use in continuing to put more pressure on yourself when you are already in an unhealthy headspace. Small breaks, whether that means taking a nap or meeting your friend for a quick cup of coffee, can be vital for ensuring your success as a student. 

Even in the midst of this quarantine when we’re already at home, that doesn’t mean you can neglect self-care and overexert yourself in your schoolwork. Learning how to adjust my schedule to accommodate my mental health needs was one of the smartest decisions I made this year, and I will continue to do that throughout college.

Don’t be afraid to try new things

I have never been an advocate for changing things up, but this semester I have enjoyed challenging myself each week with these Newbie Noelle blogs. The changes don’t have to be drastic to have an impact on your week, as the tasks I’ve done this semester have proved to me. Out of all the tasks I’ve done, I enjoyed the Why Not? challenges the most because they were creatively stimulating. 

My favorite Why Not? tasks I’ve done this semester would be exploring the menu at Starbucks and trying out Munchie’s Market smoothies. The Starbucks task was a bit pricey, but extremely worth it for all the new drinks I discovered that week. 

Overall, the tasks did what I wanted them to do: push me out of my comfort zone. It’s allowed me to have more of an open mind about trying new activities and allowed me to incorporate more self-care into my routine. I highly recommend being willing to explore activities on campus because you may end up liking them!

Appreciate what you have

I never expected to miss walking to my classes and sitting in uncomfortable lecture halls, but this quarantine has reminded me of all the simple things I took for granted while on campus. I’m extremely lucky to even have the opportunity to get an education and have a college experience. Being home and away from campus has only further reminded me of what I’m missing. Given that we can still return to campus in the fall, I’m going to take advantage of all the opportunities campus has to offer. 

It’s been a wild first year at Kent, but I’m looking forward to even more lessons and challenges in the years to come. I hope these Newbie Noelle blogs entertained or inspired some of you to get out of your comfort zone. It’s certainly made my year more fun!